Results tagged ‘ Mick Billmeyer ’

Doubleheader, Injuries and Sign Stealing Mania

After the Phillies – Rockies rain out on Tuesday, a day-night doubleheader was scheduled today and things did not go well for the Phils.  First, the Roy Halladay magic fizzled a bit in the 4-3 loss.  Second, the injuries are continuing to pile up.  The game going into extra innings did not help either.

Catcher Carlos Ruiz left the game in the 4th inning with a right knee injury.  Back-up Brian Schneider is already on the DL, which means the Phillies are now onto their 3rd string catcher, Paul Hoover.  Not only that, but now he will have to play both games of the double header.  The Phillies are also short one spot in the bullpen as Brad Lidge flew back to Philadelphia to see the team doctor about his eternally injured elbow.  This is more tragic news for a doubleheader during which the first game went long.


P4057301.jpgHalladay could not save the bullpen for the second game as he struggled to get through 6 1/3 innings.  10 hits and 3 runs later (2 earned), Halladay was pulled from the game.  The biggest nightmare for the Phillies was Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo.  This guy is a career .242 hitter, batting .240 coming into this game.  Can someone then explain to me HOW Olivo goes 5 for 5 with the game winning walk-off homer in the 10th inning?  Wow.

The defense did Halladay no favors by committing 3 errors in the field, although I think the scorekeeper only recorded two.  Give the scorekeeper an error too then; why should he miss out on the fun?  So, Chase Utley watched a ball roll right under his glove, which must have a hole in it.  Jayson Werth bobbled a ball in the outfield…twice in the same play.  And Ryan Howard bounced a ball to second, which should have been handled by Wilson Valdez but wasn’t.

Then again, Utley, Howard and Valdez made up almost the entire offense for the Phillies with 3,3 and 2 hits respectively.  Placido Polanco had 2 hits in the game and no errors, so I guess he gets two thumbs up for the day.

So the series is now tied 1-1 and game 3 will begin at 8:40pm.  The Phillies will rely on Jamie Moyer, who pitched a complete game shut-out in his last game.  They will need him to go long in order to preserve the weak bullpen.

Stealing Signs

There has been a big to-do today over the allegations that the Phillies are stealing signs from opposing catchers.  The Rockies complained about it after Monday’s loss, saying that bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was using binoculars during the 2nd inning and Shane Victorino was on the bullpen phone.  MLB has issued a “warning,” stating that there was no conclusive evidence.


Sign Stealing.jpgAccording to Victorino, he called to tell Billmeyer to put the binoculars away after the Rockies complained and manager Charlie Manuel spoke to the umpire.  You can see this does match the sequence of the events on the game tape.  Billmeyer uses the binoculars to watch the action and check on his catchers.

So, answer me this.  HOW is Billmeyer supposed to relay the signs in a split second all the way from the bullpen to the batter?  It is impossible.  Think about how fast things go from giving a sign to throwing the pitch.  The batter doesn’t have time to look to the dugout for a sign once he is in the box.  Again, it is impossible.  Billmeyer was likely watching the opposition in order to scout the pitcher; the same thing he can do by watching the video after the game, only doing it during the game is a time saver.

Besides, are some baseball fans and the media really convinced that no one tries to steal signs?  If so, they are delusional.  I really don’t care who steals signs.  It is a competition and teams will take any advantage they can get.  Trying to figure out what the opposing team is going to do is part of the game. 

A guy standing on second can read the signs from the catcher and relay it to the batter.  No one complains about this.  Base coaches use stop watches to time pitchers in order to gain an advantage for stealing bases.  No one complains about this either.  A-Rod yells for a pop-up when he is running the bases, not fielding.  Ok, so people did complain about that one…

But if teams are so concerned about the sign stealing, then they need to do a better job preparing and coming up with signs that are difficult to figure out or that change frequently.  Or, do like the Phillies have done in the past and change signs or don’t use them at all.  This is a matter of better managing your team and ensuring your pitchers and catchers are all on the same page.

In this case, there is no way the bullpen coach could have sent a sign fast enough to get to the batter.  Even if it was possible, whether it is a fast ball or a slider coming in, the batter still has to hit the ball.  Same as a runner trying to steal base; he still has to execute.  But it is not against the rules of baseball to steal signs by non-electronic means.  If people are unhappy about it, then the rules should be revised. 

So, should the Phillies now accuse the Rockies of stealing signs since they collected 10 hits off Roy Halladay?  Frankly, I do not care.  Kudos to the Rockies for hitting our ace and shame on them for whining about something that did not happen just because they were upset about losing the game.   This is a practice that has gone on for over a century amongst all MLB teams.  I think we all have better things to worry about; of course, that is just one gals humble opinion ;o)

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

 

*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

 

Holiday Sale 2009

The Phillies held their annual Holiday Sale this weekend at the ballpark and as usual, it was an interesting event.  Phillies Charities holds the event each year, selling game-used merchandise, autographed items, left over programs and books, photos, etc…  Although, this year was not nearly as crowded as last year because of the World Series loss. 

This means less money for Phillies Charities, which is sad.  In fact, the people selling many of the charity items were actually haggling to get rid of merchandise.  A Scott Eyre signed jersey marked $125 went for $100 after the buyer decided $125 was too much and decided to walk away.  Now that is something I have never seen in all the years I have attended.  But plenty of other items raked in big bucks, like game used bats, balls, street banners and empty Champagne bottles from the playoff celebrations.

I picked out a locker name plate grab bag for $30 and wound up with Carlos Ruiz, Miguel Cairo and Mick Billmeyer (bullpen coach).  The Ruiz plate was worth the $30, so I was happy with that.  I have also been working on a collection of signed 2008 World Series balls and am trying to get every player on the team.  But some players who have gone, like So Taguchi, may be impossible to get now.  So I decided to try to buy a Taguchi signed regular ball, which they had a box of there, but by the time I got up front in the line, they were sold out.  Yes folks, an entire box of Taguchi signed balls, gone.  Did everyone else have the same idea I had or are there just huge numbers of Taguchi fans out there that I do not know about?  I can tell you, he was not popular here in Philly at all, so I thought that was a bit weird.  Maybe because they were only $5 people didn’t care who signed it ;o)

While there were not any players there, everyone did have a chance to meet with broadcasters Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler, who was signing his new book, “View From the Booth.”  I think Dickie Noles was there too, but I did not see him.  And Milt Thompson was scheduled to sign copies of a hitting DVD he put out later that day.  I ran into Tom in the clubhouse store and chatted with him for a while, then got my book signed by Chris.  Here I am below with Wheels, plus a shot of a Holiday tree and Phanta Claus, who was entertaining the kids:

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It was a dreary day outside, which may have kept some shoppers home.  Rain, slush and snow also dampened the Philadelphia Santa Claus parade, which made its way around the ballpark with fire engines, sirens and bright lights, although the only people silly enough to be outside were those of us waiting in line to get into the Holiday Sale.  Not sure if the Phillies tree lighting went off as planned as I cut out early, but here is a photo of the tree taken from inside the Hall of Fame club:

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I also walked around the concourse a bit to see what the off-season ballpark looked like.  Turns out, they wrap the mobile concession stands with giant tubes of Saran Wrap.  This is either to protect them from the elements, or the stands have been put on some weird plastic wrap weight-loss plan:cling film.jpg

Maybe they can shrink the prices while they are at it?  Just a thought ;o) 

So, did anyone else go to the sale?  What did you think about it?  Feel free to comment below :O)

Wolf Devours Phils; Baseball 101 For Women

Since the game against our old pal Randy Wolf and the Dodgers was awful, let’s begin today with something fun!  Here is a recap of the Baseball 101 event for women held before the game yesterday:

P5133337 Werth.jpgThis now twice annual event included a behind the scenes tour, coaching from the Phillies staff, many guest speakers and an appearance by Jayson Werth.  Werth walked into the room and you would have thought it was Tom Cruise, judging from the reaction.  Women screamed and flash bulbs popped.  Werth talked openly to the group of 140 female fans and was surprisingly comical.  He talked about stealing home in Tuesday nights’ win over the Dodgers (turns out, it was all his idea and the 3rd base coach had no clue what was happening); Werth also gave us an overview of what it is like to travel as a Major League player, how he felt at the World Series parade, his baseball heritage and what it means to play as a team.  He was very impressive.

We also heard from Phillies broadcaster, Chris Wheeler, who walked us though his embarrassment of the strange dance he did behind Harry Kalas as he called the World Series win.  Wheels said he had no idea that he had actually looked that nuts until an hour and half later when he saw the replay.  Mitch Williams was also exceptionally informative, and very, very funny.  Williams should be a stand-up comic.  He had the room almost in tears as he discussed how we have not lived until we’ve seen John Kruk naked, how he (Williams) does not wear pants during his broadcasts and a variety of other topics.  And Larry Andersen, another former player and current broadcaster, was equally entertaining with his tales of Kalas and honest expressions of dislike for umpires.

Below, you will see Williams, Andersen and a very surreal moment as well; Tom Burgoyne, friend of the Phanatic, with the Phanatic!  A true “out of body” experience :O)

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At one point, all the women broke into teams and travelled around the stadium, with stops in the bullpen, the batting cages and on the field to run the bases and work on throwing and fielding with the Phillies coaching staff.  Sam Perlozzo and Davey Lopes directed us on the field; Milt Thompson and Pete Mackanin let us swing away in the cages; and Rich Dubee and Mick Billmeyer let us throw pitches off the mound in the pen.  They gave us the inside scoop, just like we were real major leaguers.  My favorite coach comment of the day came when I asked what changes we could expect to see when JC Romero returns to the team.  Billmeyer chimed in immediately with, “We will get better!”  Well said :O)

And a first for Baseball 101 was the behind the scenes tour of the player areas:  the clubhouse, their kitchen and even the training room.  I can tell you several things from this experience.  First, Chad Durbin has a sweet tooth and likes crossword puzzles; some players seem to have a shoe fetish; Ryan Howard uses the same baby powder that I do; and doing laundry for the Phillies is a very interesting job!  Here are a few sights from the clubhouse:

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I took tons of photos and was surprised by a few things I saw just “hanging” around.  I heard myself mutter as I peered into lockers, “Is that…(you fill in the blank)???  Oh my, yes it is.”  Use your imagination.  Nothing out of the baseball realm, but still a bit weird to see up close ;O)

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So after the all-day event which began at 8:45am, we sat down to watch the game which started at 7:05pm.  Sleepy, but it was worth it.  We had a good 3 innings and Jamie Moyer looked like he may knock out every Dodger that faced him, but come the 4th inning, the bottom dropped out and it all went downhill from there.  7 runs allowed in only 4 1/3 innings and Moyer still cannot find his 250th win.  However, I think that was the least of his worries last night.  With the struggles in this starting rotation, I would not be surprised to see some changes very soon.  Charlie Manuel has announced that JA Happ will start one of the games of the double-header on Saturday against the Nats; no word on what will happen after that.  Happ may be pitching that day for his chance to win a spot in the rotation.

On again to more pleasant things:  Here is the Photo Album from my day in baseball-land which includes the photos in this post and more.  And don’t forget to tune in to the game this afternoon, which is an early start of 1:05pm to finish the Dodgers series.  Hoping the Phillies can pull out a winning series!

Photos by Jenn

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